Irish-themed restaurants and pubs are taking advantage of St. Patrick’s Day, which falls on a Saturday this year, and spreading the cheer over several weekends.
The preceding weekends are becoming widely known as “St. Practice Day,” thanks to a promotion by an Ireland-based brewer.
The National Retail Federation said the March 17 holiday will likely boost retail sales and celebrations across the country.
“For many consumers, St. Patrick’s Day is the official kick-off to spring,” said NRF spokesperson Kathy Grannis.
According to a St. Patrick’s Day survey by BigInsight.com, a consumer research portal, 54.4 percent of Americans said they will celebrate the holiday this year, the most in the survey’s nine-year history. Nearly three in 10 will attend a party at a bar or restaurant, in search of Irish beer, green beverages, and corned beef and cabbage.
The Dallas-based Bennigan's casual-dining chain is sponsoring a sweepstakes event at its 80 restaurants by picking up game cards at its locations and registering online. The winner will receive a $2,500 "Pub in a Box," including a full-service bar with pub mirror, two bar stools, bar supplies and wall art.
Bennigan's said its locations worldwide will host St. Paddy's Day-themed events throughout March, including $50 Bennigan's Gift Card weekly drawings, photo opportunities with life-sized leprechaun cut-outs and a countdown to March 17. Additionally, Bennigan's Twitter and Facebook sites will feature St. Patrick's Day trivia and photos.
The month's events will culminate on March 17 at Bennigan's restaurants around the globe, with live music, outdoor tent parties, St. Paddy's Day menus and drink specials, as well as the awarding of the "Pub in a Box" to one winner.
“St. Paddy's Day is the most exciting day of the year for us,” said Bennigan's president and chief executive Paul Mangiamele in a statement. “We have many incredible events planned, both in our restaurants and on our social media sites, which will give us the perfect opportunity to put our 'Irish Hospitality' on full display.”
The 14-unit Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant chain, several units of which operate under the Tigin name, is sponsoring an all-day celebration with the motto “can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning.” Several units also conducted pre-St. Pat’s weekend celebrations under the banner “St. Practice Day.”
McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon’s Chicago location also has a “St. Practice Day” warm-up on the March 10 weekend and, on March 17, a $30 per person “Kegs ‘n’ Eggs” special from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., featuring green beer and a breakfast buffet.
The event will be broadcast on FM radio all day and features a stilt walker, a leprechaun and other events, such as body painting and contests, a McFadden’s spokesperson said.